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Sts. Theodorus and Theophanes

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(Called Grapti , "written upon", graptoi )

Theodorus, b. about 775; d. about 842-43; Theophanes, b. about 778; d. 845. These champions of the veneration of images during the second Iconoclastic controversy in the East were brothers and natives of Jerusalem. Both entered the monastery of St. Sabas, near Jerusalem, which, at that time was under the guidance of Michael, later syncellus of the Patriarch of Jerusalem. The brothers had an excellent theological training and were zealous, strict ascetics. About 812 they entered a monastery at Constantinople, where in opposition to the Emperor Leo V (813-20) they energetically defended the veneration of images, and consequently were exiled. Under the succeeding emperor, Michael II (820-29), they were brought into the monastery of Sosthenes on the Bosphorus. Michael's successor, the tyrannical and Iconoclastic Theophilos (829-42), exiled them again, but recalled them in 836 to the capital, had them scourged several times, and had twelve lines of verse cut into their skin (hence the nick-name "written upon"). They were once more sent into exile, where Theodorus died, while Theophanes lived to see the close of the Iconoclastic controversy in 842 during the reign of the Empress Theodora. In this same year he was raised to the Archdiocese of Nicæa and administered it until his death. Theophanes wrote a large number of religious poems, among them one on his dead brother, but they have not yet been published (cf. Christ and Paranikas, "Anthologia græca carminum christianorum", Leipzig, 1781). The brothers are venerated as saints. In the Greek Church the feast of Theophanes is observed on 11 October, that of Theodorus on 27 December. In the Roman Church the feasts of both are celebrated on 27 December (Cf. Nilles, "Kalendarium manuale utriusque Ecclesiæ", I, 300, 368 sq.).

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